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January 23, 2013

Are You Building an Atheist Church?

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Written by: Tony McCollum
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I read this great New York Times article about a church in London that’s designed for atheists.  No, it wasn’t designed to reach them.  It’s a church without God.

Now, you might ask why an atheist would want to attend church.  They answer this question in the article…

We started The Sunday Assembly – think of it as part foot-stomping show, part atheist church – because the idea of meeting once a month to sing songs, hear great speakers and celebrate the incredible gift of life seems like a fun, and useful, thing to do.

What’s more, church has got so many awesome things going for it (which we’ve shamelessly nicked). Singing together in a group? Super. Hearing interesting things? Rad. (Our first reading was Theodore Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena bit.) A moment to think quietly about your life? Wizard. Getting to know your neighbors? Ace.

This “church” has monthly meetings, singing, compelling messages, activities during the week, a twitter account, and even a Facebook page.  They have it all… well, except God.

They have it all… well, except God.

What’s really sad about this is that if they tossed in a Bible verse or two they might actually pass for just about any other contemporary church.

So, what separates our churches from your run of the mill atheist church?  In a word, Jesus.

It’s All about Jesus… Or at Least It Should Be


The church’s Facebook page bio line says that the church is a “godless congregation”.  Let that not be said of our churches.

Pastors, we must be absolutely certain that we are making Jesus central and integral in everything we do.

It’s far too easy to offer a “foot-stomping show” with great singing and other “interesting things” without involving God in the slightest.

No Faith Required

The NYT article is entitled At Atheist Church, No Faith Required but the truth is that a true God-honoring, Christ-centered church will always instill faith in newcomers while requiring more and more faith from the established members.  A congregation without growing faith isn’t a congregation.  It’s an audience, and nothing more.

Beyond the faith of individuals, every local church should also be doing things that require corporate faith.  They should be reaching out and loving with the love of Christ in bold, new, tangible ways.  They should be charging the gates of Hell to redeem those far from God.

The Question of the Hour

It might benefit every pastor and staff member in our churches to routinely consider how close our churches are to actually being an atheist church.

Let’s not give the world a good show.  Let’s give them Jesus and a growing life of real faith.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. It would also be great if you subscribed to our RSS feed or signed up for email updates to get more goodness. There’s lots more mojo where this came from!



About the Author

Tony McCollum
I'm the senior pastor of Fusion Church. I've been in the ministry for over 20 years. I'm also the founder of many sites such as, and Most importantly, I like ice cream.



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